Georgia Gould (Luna) won the elite women's short track race on Sunday afternoon in Granby, Colorado. Gould was motivated after a disappointing cross country race the previous day when a mechanical on the first lap cost her significant time.
"I had a little frustration from yesterday and that helped fuel the fire today." Gould started in the top few places and worked her way to the front by the third lap. She looked strong from the start and appeared so throughout the race. She claimed her first short track national championship ahead of Heather Irmiger (Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Lea Davison (Maxxis / Rocky Mountain).
"I kept looking for the lap counter and not seeing it," said Gould, who as the leader, was to ride three laps after 20 minutes. "There was a long enough climb that it started to get to you at the top."
In fact, the course may have been the most difficult short track course raced on the national circuit. It climbed steeply and for awhile from the start and then dropped just as steeply back down to the bottom near the finish. No flat sections required full concentration meant no time for recovery and a majority of the race spent climbing. Passing opportunities were limited so positioning at the start was everything.
"It's got a longer climb than most short tracks," said Gould. "The downhill was bumpy and you had to pay attention. It was good, but hard. It was a more selective course, so maybe it wasn't as fun for spectators because the race was more fitness-based than tactical."
Nonetheless, Irmiger, who was feeling good after she won the cross country yesterday, said that she made a strategic error early in the race. "The first lap was tactically sloppy for me. I missed the move and soon there was a gap. I think we were both riding similarly, but Georgia rides at a level where you can't close that gap easily." Irmiger's teammate Willow Koerber won the start just ahead of Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) and crested the first climb in the lead, but she faded, and it wasn't long before Irmiger worked herself into a second place.
For most of the race, the women rode alone, with gaps of five and ten seconds in between. The steep climbing made it impossible for riders to sit on or ride another's pace.
"The effort hit me like a ton of bricks," said Koerber of her start, "but I managed to recover fairly well." She held on for fourth place.
In front of her, Lea Davison (Maxxis / Rocky Mountain) put in a strong ride.
"The course felt like yesterday. It was like a mini-cross country race with a huge climb. We were grinding it out the whole race, and it was bumpy like yesterday, too," said a pleased Davison.
Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven / No Tubes) rode to her second podium spot of the weekend, a fifth place for the day.
Former World Champion Alison Dunlap made a race appearance and rode mid-pack. "I'm getting ready for 'cross, and I was here, so I thought 'why not?'" Dunlap admitted she hadn't been doing speedwork as she just finished the Breck Epic stage race last weekend.
|1||Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)|
|2||Heather Irmiger (Subaru / Gary Fisher)|
|3||Lea Davison (Maxxis / Rocky Mountain)|
|4||Willow Koerber (Subaru / Gary Fisher)|
|5||Mary Mcconneloug (KENDA / Seven / NoTubes)|
|6||Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycles)|
|7||Judy Freeman (Tough Girl / SCOTT)|
|8||Chloe Forsman (Luna Pro Team)|
|9||Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth)|
|10||Zephanie Blasi (Kenda / Tomac / Hayes)|
|11||Alison Dunlap (Luna Pro Team)|
|12||Susan Butler (Monavie / Cannondale.com)|
|13||Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes)|
|14||Krista Park (Incycle / Magura / NoTubes)|
|15||Nina Baum (Cannondale Factory Racing)|
|16||Kathy Sherwin (Kenda - Tomac - Hayes)|
|17||Lydia Tanner (Tokyo Joes)|
|18||Amanda Carey (Kenda/Tomac/Hayes)|
|19||Jamie Dinkins (Motor Mile)|
|20||Lindsey Bishop (Mafia Racing)|
|21||Sarah Kaufmann (Roaring Mouse / Titus)|
|22||Kay Sherwood (Tokyo Joes)|
|23||Molly Throdahl (Sports Garage)|
|24||Lisa Speegle (GAS/Intrinsik Architecture)|
|25||Melody Serra (OES / BikeSource)|
|27||Kyia Anderson (Hidden Bay Sports / Cannondale)|
|28||Erika Powers (Revolution / Peak Fasteners)|
|29||Kristina Dominic (Directory Plus)|
|30||Philicia Marion (Kenda / KMC / Hayes)|
|31||Melissa Marts (Tough Girl / SCOTT)|
|DNS||Katherine Compton (Katie Compton Racing/Independent Fabrication)|
|DNS||Heather Holmes (Kenda / Tomac / Hayes)|
|DNS||Jenna Rinehart (Specialized)|
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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